Singing in … a Genoa Christmas |

Singing in … a Genoa Christmas

by Jo Rafferty

Familiar faces could be seen at the Genoa Christmas Faire Sunday, where 14 booths displayed wares from handmade items, to antiques, to works of art.

Shoppers were coming and going through the doors of the Genoa Town Hall, evidently not deterred by the cold weather.

“Everyone’s been pretty successful. I believe we’re doing really well,” said Christmas Faire Committee chair Carole Hart. “We thought the weather would have put a damper on it today, but it didn’t. Yesterday it was just gorgeous.”

The fair that took place on both Saturday and Sunday featured raffle prizes that were donated by area businesses, including Genoa Trading Co., Wildrose Inn, Paula Lorenz, Cowboys & Angels, Genoa House Inn, Dancing Deer, Victoria’s Salon, Genoa Country Store and Old Fashion Passions. A freshly cut Christmas tree was donated by Chris and Kitty DeSocio.

“The merchants gave fantastic raffle items,” said Hart of the 13 items donated which, by the end of the day Sunday, had made more for the town than in previous years.

All of the proceeds from the fair – food, vendor spaces and raffle – go to the Genoa events committee to enable the town to put on Easter, Halloween, Christmas events and the summer concerts.

Town board members, both current and former, were present as both booth operators and customers. Former town manager Mike Brown and his wife Georgia were at the event, getting into the holiday spirit.

Hart not only thanked the merchants, but also the two chefs doing the cooking in the Christmas café in the fire bay. Bob Centanni and Robert Curran made a “prize-winning” potato leek soup, that Hart said was gone by noon on Sunday.

“They knew what they were doing, and it was a blessing,” said Hart.

Although Santa Claus was not able to make an appearance this year, on Saturday, entertainment was provided by the Douglas High School Madrigal Singers, which Hart said did a wonderful job.

One of the vendors, Janine Barros, last year began a new business called Cold Noggin featuring her hand-knitted colorful hats at the Christmas fair. This year she was back, this time calling her business ‘Nother Cold Noggin.

“I sold 125 hats last year,” said Barros. “I donated 80 to St. Jude.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pediatric cancer research center founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. Barros plans on donating the remaining headbands, something new she tried this year. She hadn’t done as well in hat sales this year, because she had a competitor just across the way.

“I guess what I like is I spread the spirit,” said Barros. “We’re so fortunate to have our hair. The colorful (hats and headbands) bring so much joy to those who are losing their hair to cancer.”

Other vendors admitted they attend craft fairs for the enjoyment as well.

Kitty DeSocio quit her job as an information technology manager after 15 years and three years ago began making works of art, with hand-mixed glazes, out of clay that she sells year-round at the Genoa Trading Co.

“I got fed up with it,” she said of the rat race of working. “One of my favorite things is taking something from the earth and making something out of it, that could outlive me.”

Sharon Usedom of Sparks who makes Sharon’s English Toffee had a similar story.

“I was teaching in Yuba City, Calif., when I started making toffee for parents who were helping in the classroom,” said Usedom. “One parent said you should quit to make candy. That was about 35 years ago.”

Although she opted not to quit at the time, she began attending craft shows along with her husband Doug. Quickly, her toffee, that according to Usedom won’t stick to your teeth, became popular. Usedom’s toffee was a favorite of her 90-year-old mother.

“It’s an original recipe,” said Usedom. “It’s just exploded. Now we can hardly keep up with the demand.”

The Usedoms had also been vendors at the Douglas High School craft fair the weekend before.

“Nice people,” she said of everyone she had met in Carson Valley. “I like meeting people at the craft fairs. You can’t do that so easily otherwise.”

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 210.